Organic Sencha Superior Green Tea from Shi Zen

Organic_Secha_SuperiorTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Shi Zen

Tea Description:

Our organic green tea are from the family farms in the foothills of Mount Fuji. From the farm that has been practicing organic plantation for more than 2 decades. This organic green tea superior will be the teas that are harvested in spring, which is the very first pick that is evaluated as the highest quality in Japan. You will taste the deep umami (savory) from this tea, which can only be tasted from the spring harvested organic teas.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

When Shi Zen contacted us recently to inform us of their new line of loose leaf Japanese green teas, I was excited to try them.  I really enjoyed their powdered green teas, and I figured that if these new teas were up to the standards that I experienced with Shi Zen’s powdered tea products, then I knew that I was in for a treat.

And I was right!  This Organic Sencha Superior Green Tea from Shi Zen is an excellent Japanese Sencha!  First of all, I LOVE that it’s an organic product.  The flavor here is so crisp and vibrant!  As the tea washes over the palate, it feels energized and I feel my body revitalize.  I love how a good green tea does this to me … and this is a really good green tea.

The flavor is sweet with a savory bitter tone toward mid-sip.  This Sencha has a sweeter flavor than most Japanese Sencha teas that I’ve encountered, and the bitterness is more subdued.  Normally, I expect the sip to start off sweet and the hint of bitterness to arrive right around mid-sip, as it does with this tea.  But the sweetness was longer lasting with this Sencha Superior, and the bitterness is more restrained.

It is vegetative, of course, and I find that the vegetal notes here are more like a mild vegetable that’s been lightly steamed with delicate notes of butter than it is a grassy vegetal flavor.  There are underlying notes of a kelp-like, salty note that brings forth a savory flavor, giving this a balance between sweet and savory notes.

A really, really good Sencha!

Golden Monkey Superior Organic from Teas Etc.

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Teas Etc.

Tea Description:

The unique character and lingering finish is intoxicating. An exquisite USDA Certified Organic golden, black tea from southern China’s Fujian province, the beautiful, gold twisted leaves are almost as lovely to look at as to taste. Don’t mistake this for lower grade teas of this type. This is a premium grade golden monkey that is not to be missed!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

After last month’s less than exciting box of teas from Steepster Select, I was actually contemplating canceling my subscription.  I am glad I didn’t!  This month’s box, appropriately themed “Best Buds,” more than makes up for the disappointing selections of last month’s box.

This box not only included this astounding Golden Monkey – quite possibly the best I’ve tasted of this type of tea – but also a yellow tea selection (my favorite type of tea!) and a silver needle!  Wow!  Bravo, Steepster!

Unlike what I’d call a “tippy” golden tea – which tends to be mostly dark leaves with tips of gold – every single leaf of this tea is beautifully golden in color, with striations tan and brown.  Gorgeous!

But even more beautiful than the color of the dry leaf is the flavor of the brewed tea.  This is amazingly good.  The flavor is rich and exceptionally smooth.  There are notes of malt which meld deliciously with the sweet honey caramel-y undertone.  Slightly earthy, with a juicy peach note that emerges as I continue to sip.  This is so pleasantly sweet, without a note of bitterness to be found, and only a slight astringency which cleanses the palate slightly, allowing it to enjoy an aftertaste that is quite honey-esque.

Easily one of the best black teas I’ve yet to taste.  I highly recommend it to anyone … even those who aren’t fond of tea.  I think this one could change their mind.

ITFA Global Tea Taster’s Club, August Shipment, Part 5: Superior Sencha (Hukamushi Premium)

Leaf Type:  Green

Produced by Ukibe Seicha Haru Ichiban

For More Information, visit the Tea Farms webpage

About ITFA Global Tea Taster’s Club:

By subscribing to the Global Tea Tasters Club, you will receive tea from ITFA tea farms 6 times per year. Each time, we will select a different region to feature and as we grow in tea farm members, so will your tea experience.

Your tea will also be accompanied by info about the tea and the tea farms themselves.

To know where your tea is coming from, who has grown and produced it, to taste the difference in teas from around the world…what could be better?

Taster’s Review:

I know I’ve probably said this quite a bit when talking about these teas from the International Tea Farms Alliance’s Global Tea Taster’s Club, but this tea is incredible!  The name “Superior Sencha” does not deceive … this is one of the very best Sencha teas I’ve ever tasted (if not THE best!)

The flavor is sweet and gentle.  It is both soothing and invigorating at the same time.  I know that these two terms (soothing and invigorating) may seem to be contradictory, but, to really understand where I’m coming from, you just have to taste this tea.  I feel revitalized as I also feel the stresses of my day being washed away by this amazing Sencha.

I would categorize this as a light to medium body, but with a smooth, almost brothy mouthfeel.  There is very little astringency to this Sencha – far less than I am used to when it comes to the Sencha teas that are readily available here in the United States. It is sweet, with hints of fruit notes (sweet apple) and a very distant floral note (honeysuckle, maybe?)

When I taste this tea, I feel that I am tasting the very best that Japan has to offer.  I feel honored to have this opportunity to taste such a tea so special, and it is a joy to drink.  Thank you, ITFA!

Superior Gunpowder Tea from Culinary Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Culinary Teas

Product Description: 

Superior Gunpowder tea has a greenish, full bodied, delectable bakey character with a hint of smokiness. The expansion of the leaf after infusion is remarkable. This tea will keep for a very long time due to the tight roll.

Taster’s Review:

My earliest experiences with gunpowder green tea were not positive.  But that really was not the tea’s fault – it was mine.  I used water that was too hot for the delicate green tea leaves, and as a result the liquor was bitter and not suitable to drink.

Since that time, I’ve learned how to brew green tea, and as I sit here, sipping on this Superior Gunpowder from Culinary Teas, I can’t help but feel a little sad at how dreadful I treated those gunpowder teas in the past.   Such a delightful tea, it really didn’t deserve such harsh treatment!

This is really quite divine!  The flavor is toasty with a delicious nutty flavor in the foreground.  There is a hint of smokiness in the background which is quite complimentary to the roasty-toasty flavor.  Some light vegetative notes round out the flavor of this cup.

I’m currently sipping my second infusion of this tea, and I think I prefer the second to the first.  It is sweeter and tastes a bit more even-toned and balanced than the first infusion, although both were quite lovely.  These leaves could even handle a third infusion!

An excellent gunpowder, this Superior Gunpowder from Culinary Teas.  It gets top marks!

Jasmine Superior Dragon’s Pearls (Molin Hua) from In Nature

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  In Nature

Product Description:

This a top quality flower (jasmine) tea created from only the finest leaves, buds and flowers picked early in the morning to ensure freshness of aroma and flavour.

The tea brews to a pale yellow colour and the beautifully subtle floral aroma invites you to drink.

Taster’s Review:

As I’ve said before, I adore jasmine teas.  I’ve tasted many jasmine teas in the past, and it would seem that I’ve had many “favorites” – I guess it could be said that when it comes to jasmine, I’m quite fickle.  Keeping that in mind, this is one of the best jasmine pearl teas that I’ve encountered.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’ve encountered some rather distasteful jasmine teas.  Sometimes, the jasmine is overwhelming, leaving the cup tasting too floral, and there is often a sharp bitterness to it.  Sometimes, the jasmine is an artificial jasmine flavoring, and this often produces a soapy tasting tea.  But here, the jasmine is absolutely spot-on.  It tastes natural.  It tastes sweet.  It tastes perfect.

The flavor is incredibly smooth.  The green tea has a light flavor with mere hints of a grassy undertone.  The tea has an almost-creamy texture to it, which highlights the smoothness of the tea.

Truly a beautiful jasmine tea.  I recommend this one to all the jasmine tea lovers out there!